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List free Blogging from A to Z in April – some tips for WordPress bloggers

The Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge is coming up soon. The Theme reveal, where bloggers advertise their chosen theme for the challenge will be on 20 March 2017.

I have participated every year since 2013, when I came across the challenge just in time to take part.

When I began blogging I had no idea how other bloggers were managing to find my posts. Later on I discovered the WordPress Reader. This is a tool for managing the blogs you follow and for finding blog posts on any topic.

I use the category Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and (among others) the tags A to Z, April, challenge, Letter A (etc.), blogging challenge. It is important not to use more than 15 categories and tags in total. As I understand it, too many prevent the post showing in the reader.

Many of the blogs I follow in the Reader are those of A to Z bloggers from previous challenges. There is the opportunity to add more – even from blogging platforms other than WordPress. For these it is necessary to copy the URL of the blog into a space on the Reader and click follow.

Searching in the Reader allows bloggers to find the most recent posts with the category or tag selected. This may help bloggers, who post their comments way down any list on the Blogging from A to Z website or Facebook page.

Adding links to these lists is also useful for driving traffic to your blog (I mean encouraging other A to Z Bloggers to visit 🙂 )

It is also important to continue sharing your links in whatever is your usual way, eg on your own writer’s Facebook page, Twitter, etc.

Have you any tips for this year’s A to Z challenge?

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Anxiety and panic attacks

For Time to Talk Day 2017 I have decided to write about two common problems. They are not unrelated. If you are troubled by anxiety with or without panic attacks, I hope you will find something useful here.

People, who are happy-go-lucky and sail through life as if they hadn’t a care in the world, do not understand what it is like for people who think too much. If you are one of those lucky ones, please read on!

Some people worry about everything. They just don’t seem to be able to help it. It has become a habit. It can become debilitating, especially if it leads to panic attacks.

Let me give you an example of a worry and how to stop it developing.

The worrier knows where a friend or family member is travelling and has given them some advice. The time for them to arrive at their destination has past and they have not posted anything on social media to say they have arrived. The person travelling has not been on this route before, but the worrier has. The worrier is aware of all the dangers along the way. Risk assessment has become a fashionable exercise. People have had serious accidents on that route. Some have even died. Although the worrier has not asked the traveller to let them know they are safe, it is second-nature to become anxious. An escape mechanism is needed. In this case, the worrier can be reassured by choosing a different thought pattern.

The person is an adult with experience of making journeys in new places. They do not post on social media every day. The worrier is not responsible for the behaviour and safety of the other person. Contacting them would be an unnecessary nuisance to the other person and would make the worrier look foolish. It is possible to set this worry on one side and have a good night’s sleep.

The alternative of allowing the worry to take over and possibly result in a panic attack is best avoided. Some panic attacks are due to allowing worries to escalate. Others may come for no obvious reason.

Panic attacks come in different forms. One common form is hyper-ventilating, where the breathing is affected. However, like frightened animals, humans may find that other bodily functions are affected. They may have the runs, for example. Or, like a rabbit frozen in the headlights of an on-coming vehicle, they may be unable to act. Or they may become hot and bothered for no apparent reason.

Like anxiety, panic attacks may be averted.

For example, a thought comes to a sufferer: they may have forgotten to switch something off. They are in a situation, where they cannot immediately go and check or ask someone else to. They can dismiss the thought before it worries them sick, bringing on a panic attack.

These coping strategies need practice.

First the worrier has to recognise that they are worrying. Then they have to decide whether they need to do anything about the worry or whether it is not their responsibility. If action helps, fine. If not, perhaps they can set their own mind at rest, as in the first example above. If not, doing something to take one’s mind off the worry may help. At night silently praying or reciting poetry may help. (If anxiety affects one’s sleep, worrying about not sleeping does more harm than good.) In the daytime, distracting activities need to occupy the mind, such as writing, doing puzzles, or physical activities, requiring concentration.

Getting enough rest can also help to avert worrying, but there are times, when it is necessary to keep going in spite of tiredness.

Talking to a sympathetic person can be helpful. However, many people do not understand.

Medical help is available for anxiety. I have resorted to it in the past, but I prefer to use the methods outlined above. The word I have chosen for this year is Trust. If  I really trust God I have no need to become anxious.

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My blogging goals for 2017

In this third week of 2017 I am setting out (as much for my own benefit as for anyone else’s) my goals for 2017.

I have mentioned before that I have a regular slot on the More than Writers’ blog. I post there on the 31st of the longest months.

Sue’s considered trifles blog is still awaiting a decision about its future. I may reblog some of the earlier book reviews here on Sue’s Trifles. I am not promising to post here every week. However I do intend to take part in the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge again this year. I have an idea about what I might do, but it will have to wait for the Theme Reveal!

On Sue’s words and pictures I hope to continue with the Daily Post photo challenges, although I have missed one over the New Year holiday. I may not claim to be a post a week blogger there either, although it would be fairly easy to achieve that goal.

Here I am planning to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. I shall continue to review any books I have read and enjoyed. Whether I find time for craft projects remains to be seen. I finished the knitting project I began in the summer on the run-up to Christmas. Now I just need to find a recipient for it…

If Twitter counts as blogging (I have heard it described as micro-blogging) I shall continue to promote my own and others’ blogs. Some of my photos only appear there. Follow me @suesconsideredt if you like.

By cutting down on my blogging frequency, I hope to free up some time for other writing-related activities. I also hope that the viewing figures for each post might increase as a result of being the latest post for a longer time. (Perhaps that is not how it works, but I do seem to put in a lot of effort for little effect.)